Cooleemee teachers getting ready

Published 10:02 am Thursday, August 25, 2016

The halls of Cooleemee Elementary School were quiet but all teachers were on deck. Teachers were focused working on their themes and making their classroom look their best for the open house on Thursday.

Ms. Nieters, school librarian, was segregating the new laptop bags for the teachers.  The upgraded laptops will be a nice improvement from the older ones.

The school district made improvements on a couple schools last year and it was Cooleemee’s time for some renovations.  It has been 15 years since the last painting had been done.

Sections of the murals on the wall were deteriorating and decisions were made to paint over the worst. A large space has been painted a light blue, which showcases a Dr. Seuss quote.

New carpet was laid through out and coordinating colors were added to the walls. The school district paints cream colors so special permission to add the colors was necessary and approved.   

To help pay for the cost of the new colors all grades of the school took part in a fundraiser.

Ms. Nieters implemented what is called a War Money game. If you collect 10 pennies in the bucket you earn 10 points. Pennies were positives; other coins or dollars were negatives.

Those negatives were termed as sabotage, which helped the children learn a new word and what it meant.

If silver coins were dropped in or dollars were added, it would sabotage the bucket by 100 points.  Buckets were counted everyday to see who was in the lead.   

The students got excited about the fundraiser, parents got involved and so did grandparents, she said.

Total amount raised in one week’s time was $1,229.12.

“Making the library more of a science center museum would make it more of an interesting and engaging space,” says Nieters.

The place to get books in my day were called libraries, then they evolved into media centers and now they are called learning commons.

New throw pillows for the lounging area add color, three end tables were painted a medium purple and the words biography, nonfiction, fiction, check in and check were stenciled on the walls.

In addition, two chalk boards, exercise balls, 2 video chairs were added and Nieters brought from home 2 video chairs.

A petition wall was present already and Nieters is turning it into a huge light bright wall. There won’t be any light behind the pegboard but using short golf tees in all colors will make you think there is.

At open house, everyone should see a blank wall with a sign stating, future home for Lego Wall.

The cost for the green base plates to hold the Legos are pricy so monies left over will help pay for the new wall. Nieters created an account with Donors Choose to help raise additional funds for the cost of the wall.  Anyone interested making a donation may visit  This is to pay specifically for the green bases to hold the Legos. Those will be glued to plywood that will be attached to the wall.

Anyone who has Legos to donate, they will be gladly accepted.

The large bookcases were upgraded with casters so the room can be rearranged with ease.

Other surprises are in store for parents and students so the open night ought to be fun.

Olivia Clark is a new third grade teacher. Her first year of teaching was at Wake Forrest and this will be her first at Cooleemee.

Her focus is English, language and arts (ELA) and social studies.

Her students will be able to learn with hands-on experiences. Clark makes a point to share her personal life with students like a funny dream she had the night before, talk about her husband or sharing the last book she read.

Beach music was playing when I entered Carmen Grubb’s classroom. This is her first year teaching and she will have first grade students.

In Clark’s room, an under-the-sea theme was created. She bought green window valances and made seaweed curtains out of plastic tablecloths.

She wants her students to be involved, experience hands-on learning and be able to move around to expand focus.

Feel free to contact me at 336.250.1133, or I would love to hear from you.